Autocode Search Results

Like the segments in the “Retrieved Segments” windows, Text Search results can be automatically coded, meaning all text passages found in the search are assigned to a specific code. This automatic coding has the advantage of being easy and reliable. The disadvantage, however, in comparison to manual coding, is of course that you can’t examine the relevance of each respective text passage during the coding process. The occurrence of a specified string in the text automatically triggers the coding. For example, if the word “Mother” is automatically coded with the code “Family”, references to “Mother Earth” would also be included.

To code the search results automatically, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Autocode search results with a new code symbol.
  2. Start autocode procedure
  3. In the dialog box that appears, you can define the new code as usual. MAXQDA automatically enters the search item as the code’s name and the search settings as a code memo. You can modify both, if required. Then click OK. The new code will be inserted at the top of the code system.
  4. Autocode search results: Define a new code
  5. In the ensuing options window, you can set the range before and after the search term as well as the weight, which is established during the coding process.
Setting options for automatic coding of search results

In the “PDF documents” section, you can set whether only the respective search result should be coded, or whether additional words or sentences before and after the search results should be coded as well. Due to the different handling of text layers in PDF documents, using the option “Sentences before and after” for PDFs can lead to unexpected results in certain cases.

Please note: Read the chapter on Extended Text Search to learn how MAXQDA recognizes sentences.

In the “Text and table documents” section, you can additionally select to autocode paragraphs containing the search result.

Setting Paragraph with 0 Paragraphs before and 0 Paragraphs after means that only the paragraph in which the search item is found will be coded. If the item appears several times in one paragraph, it will nevertheless be coded only once

The setting 1 Paragraph after means that the paragraph in which the search item is found as well as the following paragraph will be coded. Again, if the term appears several times in one paragraph, it will nevertheless be coded only once.

Autocode search results with an existing code

If you do not want to code with a new code, but with an existing code from the “Code System”, you can use the Autocode search results  option from the toolbar. Before you start the process, click on the desired code in the “Code System” window, which will cause the code to appear in the list of recently used codes in the Autocode options window.

Please note: Text segments that are already coded with the selected code will be ignored during the autocoding process – even if a text segment contains the search item. This ensures that you do not accidentally overwrite your manually coded segments during the automatic coding process.

Exclude search results from autocoding

Generally, all search items that appear in the results list will be autocoded. However, before executing the autocode function, you can review the list of search hits in order to decide whether each hit should be included or not. Once one or more lines in the results table have been selected, click on the red icon  Autocode/Export: ignore hit in order to exclude the hit.

The fastest way to exclude a term is to double-click in the first column.

Exclude search terms from autocoding
Please note: The selected codes are incorporated into the undo coding list which can be accessed from the Code toolbar in the Document-Browser window with the  icon. This action can be reversed with a single command if necessary. This function is also available after reopening the project and it can be called independently of the global undo function.

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